• Step 1Enter Your Anticipated Refund
  • Step 2Add Past-Due Expenses
  • Step 3Create Refund Budget

Anticipating a tax refund this year? Whether you’re expecting $100 or $1,000, use our GoodProspects® tax-refund planning tool to make a plan to use your refund wisely. Learn more about how to complete this form.

Data entered into this tool may be collected and analyzed in accordance with the GoodProspects privacy policy.

Don't know how much you expect to get back? Estimate your refund here.

Do you have past due expenses? Past due expenses may include:

  • Overdue credit card bills
  • Overdue student loan bills
  • Overdue car loan bills
  • Overdue mortgage or rent payments
  • Overdue utility bills
  • Overdue medical bills

Click for Budget Calculator

Anticipated Refund
This is the amount you expect to receive back in this year's tax refund. Want to edit this amount? Return to step one.
0.00
Budgeted Refund
This is the amount you've planned to spend so far. This field is automatically calculated as you use the Tax Refund Planning Tool.
0.00
Amount Remaining
This is the amount you have left to spend. This field is automatically calculated as you use the Tax Refund Planning Tool.
0.00
Caution: You have allotted more than your total anticipated refund.

Past Expenses

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Past-due credit card bills, or cards with balances you are unable to pay down belong in this category. Tip: any credit card accruing greater than 8 percent interest is generally considered “high interest debt” and should be a priority to pay down.

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If you are current on your student loan payments, keep up the great work. If you are past due, consider dedicating some of your refund towards making a payment. Tip: Some student loans impose early repayment penalties, so you may be better off stashing some of your refund into an emergency fund instead of making extra loan repayments.

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If you are current on your vehicle loan payments, keep up the great work. If you are past due, those payments belong in this category. Tip: Some vehicle loans impose early repayment penalties, so you may be better off stashing some of your refund into an emergency fund instead of making extra loan repayments.

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If you are current on these, keep up the great work. If you are past due, those payments belong in this category. Tip: Some loans impose early repayment penalties, so you may be better off stashing some of your refund into an emergency fund instead of making extra loan repayments.

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If these are overdue, you should dedicate some of your refund to taking care of them to ensure you do not have your utility service cut off.

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If you owe money for past medical bills, you should dedicate some of your refund to pay them down.

Total Allotted For Past Expenses

$0.00

Caution: You have allotted more than the recommended amount of $0.00 towards your past expenses.

Why do we recommend this amount? Learn more about budgeting your refund.

Present Expenses

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If you've been putting off doctor, dentist, or optometrist appointments, now is the time to make sure everyone's in good health.

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Take a class, sign up for a professional development program, or go back to college to get a degree or certification.

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Take care of home repairs that could become big headaches down the road. Think of things you normally would not be able to take care of, like replacing an old furnace, patching up a leaky roof, or repairing fickle plumbing.

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Use some of your refund on monthly expenses like rent, student loans, and utilities to help even-out monthly spending in the future. This is a great time to build a monthly budget if you don’t have one.

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Up to five percent of your refund can be used to treat yourself or your family to something special. If this makes it easier to use the rest of your refund for greater financial wellness, it’s worth it. Think about a small splurge like going out to the movies, or something else that would be fun for the whole family to enjoy.

Total Allotted For Present Expenses

$0.00

Caution: You have allotted more than the recommended amount of $0.00 towards your present expenses.

Why do we recommend this amount? Learn more about budgeting your refund.

Future Expenses

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Start a retirement account, add to one you already have, or buy some government savings bonds. You can make a contribution to your 401k or myRA at work, or start your own IRA account. Be aware: if you are starting your own IRA account you will also need to choose stocks or mutual funds to invest the money in. If that’s not something you’re prepared to do, another option is to purchase government savings bonds.

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In general, if you have about $250 set aside for emergencies you have a good starter fund. Every little bit helps, get it started with your refund and add to it throughout the year.

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Start or increase a 529 (Educational Savings Fund) for your kids. The money earned in a 529 account is not taxed when your child is ready to use it. You can start small now and add a little more to the account each year, or through automatic deposits from you paycheck to grow the account into a financial springboard when your child is ready to go to college.

Total Allotted For Future Expenses

$0.00

Caution: You have allotted more than the recommended amount of $0.00 towards your future expenses.

Why do we recommend this amount? Learn more about budgeting your refund.

What To Do Next

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. Check your eligibility below.

File In Person

Enter your ZIP code to find free tax filing help at a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site near you.